Yesterday's story about the "honour killing" of a Pakistani woman by a mob of her family and friends -- including her father -- gets crazier. Farzana Bibi (aka Iqbal) was bludgeoned to death Tuesday in the eastern city of Lahore by family members who were enraged that she had married "the man she loved" -- Muhammad Iqbal -- of whom they did not approve.
Today police allowed that perhaps Farzana's family had good reason to disapprove, since her new husband hadn't divorced his first wife. Instead, he murdered her. Police spokesthingy Zulfiqar Hameed said that Iqbal, was arrested after the 2009 killing, but the charge against him was withdrawn because he was forgiven by a family member. According to Pakistani law -- a modified form of Sharia law -- that makes it OK!
Iqbal did not respond to repeated requests for comment from AP, but two of his cousins said he had been forgiven by one of his sons for the killing.
Although unwilling to discuss the 2009 killing, Iqbal criticized police for their failure to intervene in this week's stoning on the street outside the Lahore High Court. "I begged [police] to help us," Muhammad Iqbal told Reuters. "I took off my shirt [to be humble] and begged them to save her, but they said 'This is not our duty.'"
Pakistan is a nation of 180 million people, the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims. According to their culture and religion, women are expected to agree to arranged marriages and refusal can mean an "honour killing", since many Pakistani families think it dishonourable for a woman to fall in love and choose her own husband. Farzana's family had chosen a partner for her -- a cousin -- but she preferred Iqbal. Whether she knew the fate of his first wife is unknown.
Police said her father, two brothers and a former fiancé [the cousin? Ed.] were among attackers. Muhammad Aurangzeb, Farzana's 20-year-old stepson -- Muhammad Iqbal is his father -- described how one relative tried to shoot her, then grabbed her head scarf, causing her to fall over. [Another good reason not to wear a hijab or niqab. Ed.]
While a member of Iqbal's party tried to wrest the gun away, a female cousin grabbed a brick and hit Farzana with it, Aurangzeb said. "She was screaming and crying 'Don't kill me! We will give you money!" said Iqbal. He said he tried to save her but the mob of more than 20 beat him back.
At one point, six people were beating her with bricks as she screamed, he said, and he and his stepson begged police to help. Finally she stopped screaming...because she was dead. All the suspects, except Farzana's father, have disappeared. The father said he gave himself up to police without fear of being prosecuted, since killing his daughter was a matter of honour.